Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Energy, Industry and Mineral Resources has set the dates for the prequalification and tendering of the first 700MW of the kingdom’s National Renewable Energy Programme (NREP).

The ministry will issue request for prequalification (RFQ) documents on 20 February, with the intention of issuing request for proposals (RFPs) to prequalified bidders on 17 April. The ministry is establishing the Renewable Energy Project Development Office (Repdo) to head the NREP programme.

Under the 700MW first round, 300MW of photovoltaic (PV) solar will be developed at a site in Sakaka in the Al-Jouf province and 400MW of wind capacity will be developed at a site in Midyan in the Tabuk province. Later rounds of projects will include other forms of renewable energy such as concentrated solar power (CSP) and waste-to-energy schemes. The renewable projects will all be developed under the IPP model.

The energy ministry has appointed a team of advisers to provide legal, financial and technical consultancy services for the initial projects. Japanese bank Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation (SMBC) has been appointed as financial adviser, UK-based law firm DLA Piper will provide legal advisory and Germany’s Fichtner will undertake the engineering and technical advisory services role.

MEED reported in January that the ministry was going to push ahead with the initial 700MW of the first 3.45GW of renewable energy projects planned by 2020 in the first quarter of 2017. The National Renewable Energy Programme sets out a target for 3.45GW of renewable energy to be developed by 2020 under the National Transformation Plan (NTP), and for 9.5GW of renewable energy capacity to be established by 2023.

The Repdo will report to a new renewable energy steering committee, chaired by the Minister of Energy, Industry and Mineral Resources Khalid al-Falih. The committee will include the heads of various government stakeholders in the kingdom including: King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy (KA-Care), Electricity and Cogeneration Regulatory Authority (ECRA), state oil major Saudi Aramco and state utility the Saudi Electricity Company (SEC).

MEED reported in January that KA-Care will form the renewable energy monitoring agency (Remo) and monitor the projects under the NREP.

The start of the procurement process for the first 700MW round of renewables projects and clarification of the entities driving the country’s renewable energy will please the regional and international power and renewable energy sectors, which were left disappointed with the kingdom’s original 54GW renewable energy programme, launched in 2012. Following the publication of a draft white paper in early 2013 detailing plans for the initial renewable energy projects, no further progress with the programme was made.